Laurie Robinson joined George Mason in the fall of 2012 as the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society after more than three decades of involvement in national criminal justice policy. Reflecting her ongoing engagement with national policy matters, in late 2014 President Obama named Robinson co-chair of a White House task force set up in the wake of Ferguson to develop recommendations on ways to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Robinson served twice – during the Clinton and Obama Administrations — as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General heading the Justice Department’s research and criminal justice grants agency, the Office of Justice Programs. Her time heading OJP is the longest of any director in the agency’s 45-year history. Her second tenure heading the $2.5 billion agency was marked by a focus on science and evidence-based programming: She established a Science Advisory Board, launched an initiative to better integrate evidence into OJP’s program and policy decisions, and set up a first-time “what works” clearinghouse for the criminal justice field.
Between her two terms of government service, Robinson served as the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science Program in Criminology. During her first tenure at the Justice Department in the 1990s, she led the federal government’s engagement with states and localities on community-based crime control – and support for innovation in addressing crime. Her agency’s annual budget grew from $800 million in 1993 to over $4 billion in 2000. She oversaw the largest increase in federal spending on crime-related research in the nation’s history and spearheaded federal initiatives in such areas as violence against women, drug treatment courts, and law enforcement technology.
Before joining the federal government, she directed the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section in Washington for 14 years. She has frequently testified before Congress and has served on numerous national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice, the Constitution Project, the Police Foundation, and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA). Robinson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University. She lives in Northwest Washington with her husband, Sheldon Krantz, a law professor.